Frequently asked questions

Can I use material belonging to others in my articles and books?

You need to take care if you wish to include images, diagrams, graphs, charts, maps, words and other material you sourced from the internet or elsewhere.  Sometimes copyright law allows you to use this material, and other times the easiest way to bypass difficulties is to use material with a Creative Commons licence or other licence that allows you to do so.  Otherwise, you must contact the copyright owner to get written permission.

What is Creative Commons material and why use it?

Creative Commons material is material that the creator allows others to use under various conditions.  You can use or adapt diagrams, images, maps, sketches or photographs from the internet with a Creative Commons license in your articles and books without seeking permission from the copyright owner.

How can I find Creative Commons material for my research publications?

Find the material you want on CC Search.  Best to tick both boxes below the search bar to source material with a  CC BY or CC BY SA licence – as both these CC licences will allow you to adapt as well as include this material in your publications.  (Note that a CC non-commercial licence (NC) will not permit you to include the material in your articles or books published by commercial publishers.)

Do I need permission to quote text?

You may quote up to a paragraph from an article or book.  If you want to use more, you should get written permission from the copyright owner.

Can I use material from the internet?

It’s best to presume that all material on the internet has copyright protection.  Often a website’s “Terms of Use” or the licence attached to a work will allow you to use the material.  Otherwise get written permission to use the material.

What if I am criticising or reviewing for example a painting or diagram?

You may sometimes include an image of a painting or diagram in your article or book (without needing to get permission from the copyright owner) if you are directly criticising or reviewing this work.  Seek advice from the Information Policy Officer.

Can I change a diagram or image to include in my article or book?

When adapting material (such as text or a diagram) you need to get written permission from the copyright owner, unless the material has a CC licence or other open licence that allows you to do so.   If the copyright owner is not the creator, you may need to get written permission from the creator as well as the copyright owner to adapt the work.  If you draw an image, diagram or map using material belonging to another as inspiration and your work looks substantially like the original material, you will need to get written permission.  It's often easier to start from scratch and create your own original work.  Seek advice from the Information Policy Officer.

When and how do I ask for permission to use material from others?

If your use does not fit under the headings listed above, then you will need to get written permission from the copyright owner to use the material.   Sometimes the copyright owner will ask you to pay a licence fee to use the material.   Please keep all permissions.

Can I publish my working papers and conference papers as journal articles?

Some publishers consider working papers and conference papers that are published on the web as prior publication, and could therefore refuse to publish these papers as an article.   So check with your publisher and plan how and where you publish.

How can my creative work be published on Griffith Research Online?

How can I get assistance?

Need help?

Advice and support

The Information Policy Officer provides copyright advice and training across Griffith University for staff and students. Contact the Information Policy Officer by emailing or phoning (0)7 3735 5695.

  • Reading List Service digitises and makes readings available online for students through Learning@Griffith in a copyright compliant way.
  • The Library assists with supplying movies and TV material for teaching in a copyright compliant way.
  • Griffith Enterprise advises on ownership and development of potentially commercial copyright, inventions and other IP created by staff and students.

Common questions